Government sources say the personal information of some 4 million people was stolen. It’s unknown if only federal employees are included, or if government contractors are also impacted.
Hackers believed to be from China swiped the records of approximately 4 million people, according to a government source. The FBI is investigating the matter.
Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the breach "yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances."
The data was held by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The office holds information on both federal employees and government contractors, who must pass federal background checks in order to receive security clearances.
An FBI spokesman said, “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”
The OPM reports that it detected the breach in April 2015 and notified the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to secure the information stored in our systems, and in coordination with our agency partners, our experienced team is constantly identifying opportunities to further protect the data with which we are entrusted,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said.
In addition to current workers, former employees may also be impacted.
ABC reports that the affected victims are being notified and will be offered credit monitoring.